Implementation of NRC can be done under strict supervision of Supreme Court: Kuki group

Meitei and Naga organisations have been demanding the implementation of the National Register of Citizens to check infiltration from Myanmar

Updated - July 06, 2024 07:50 pm IST

Published - July 06, 2024 07:05 pm IST - Guwahati

The India-Myanmar International border fence in Manipur’s Moreh. File

The India-Myanmar International border fence in Manipur’s Moreh. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

An apex body of the Kuki-Zo community on July 6 said it would not oppose the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Manipur if it was carried out under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

The condition set by the Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) followed demands for an Assam-like NRC by Meitei and Naga organisations to “check infiltration” from across Manipur’s border with civil war-torn Myanmar.

Also read | India’s citizenship laws: Citizenship in the 21st century

Assam underwent a major exercise to update the NRC of 1951. The exercise has remained in limbo since the complete draft was published in August 2019, leaving out 19.06 lakh of some 3.3 crore applicants from the list of citizens.

The KIM said its members would not dispute any genuine effort to identify non-citizens and take necessary action according to the “constitutional rules and principles”, provided the NRC is carried out under the strict supervision of the Supreme Court and in due consultation with tribal organisations.

“Subsequently, any illegal immigrant found, whether a Kuki, Naga or Meitei, may be thoroughly dealt with as per the established laws of the country,” KIM leader Janghaolun Haokip said in a statement.

“The unwarranted and brutal hostilities against our people by the Meiteis must end, and only then a procedural conduct of NRC in Kuki-Zo inhabited regions can be justifiable and viable,” he said, stressing the need for the constitutional protection of the Kuki-Zo people by creating a Union Territory for them.

“The Meitei State leadership responsible for the oppression and persecution of our people, causing the loss of 186 precious lives, the arson and destruction of more than 7,000 houses, and rendering more than 41,000 Kuki-Zo people homeless, has no legitimate say and authority over the future of our people,” Mr. Haokip said.

A few days ago, a joint delegation of leaders of the Coordinating Committee for Manipur Integrity and the United Naga Council urged Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey to implement the NRC in the State with 1951 as the base year to “protect the indigenous people” and check infiltration.

“Illegal migrants have already caused serious uncertainties and political insecurities to the native population of the State,” their joint memorandum read.

Meiteis, Nagas, and Kuki-Zos are the three main ethnic groups of Manipur. A conflict between the Meitei and Kuki-Zo people that broke out in May 2023 has left more than 220 people dead and some 70,000 people displaced.

The conflict has continued intermittently. In June, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh said he was hopeful of resolving the crisis within three months.

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